50 easy gardening hacks to make the most out of your garden

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50 easy gardening hacks to make the most out of your garden
Water pots after rain

Leaving pots un-watered because it rained is a rookie mistake in the gardening world. Unless it’s a torrential downpour a regular shower won’t be an adequate amount to satisfy a potted plant’s needs. They tend to dry out quicker than natural earth flowerbeds, so a potted plant should be watered, on average, every other day. Read up on your specific plant to gain more information as to how much H20 it needs to flourish as too much can be as damaging as too little.

Water the garden in the morning

According to the Royal Horticultural Society, the best time to water your yard is in the morning. This allows water to seep down and reach roots with the least amount of water evaporation and makes the moisture available throughout the whole day. If you can’t miss that lie-in, then, late afternoon or early evening is the next best thing as it allows plants to soak water into their system while out of the sun.

Download a plant app

Identifying a plant specimen can make the world of difference when it comes to successful gardening, but with so much to learn, it can be daunting for a novice gardener. Make like you are green-thumbed god or goddess by seeking digital help. From plant identifiers that can instantly identify over 20,000 plants to garden trackers and calendar planners, there is an app to download that will cover it. One of our favorites is Garden Answers.

Pop seeds into ice-cream cones

A cute and eco-friendly seedling starter container is an ice-cream cone. It’s a fun way to get children involved and can be popped directly into the soil as the cones act as a warm shield and then biodegrades in time. Flour & Fancies advises cutting the bottom half off the cone before planting.

Double pot your plants

Make reorganizing the yard easy by double planting your pots. Bury empty pots into flowerbeds at ground level and then slot filled pots into the holders. Simple but effective, it’ll make reorganizing your foliage or swapping out seasonal plants super easy.

Craft potato growing pots

Make harvesting vegetables easy with a double potted container. Select two plastic tubs or buckets that slot into one another and simply cut large holes out of the smaller pot (as well as drainage holes in both). Then when ready, you can then pull out potatoes without upturning the whole plant. Or, if that sounds complicated you can buy one that is specially made to produce a bumper crop.

Serve compost tea

Did you know plants love a nice cup of tea just as much as we do? Once blended and brewed it is said to be packed with nutrients that feed hungry roots while boosting soil quality. ​How in depth you want to make your tea is up to you. Some simply soak shredded leaves from the plant you want to feed in boiling water and pour back on (once cooled and strained). Or, like this post on Dengarden, you can brew up a more luxurious and concentrated blend; you’ll need a five-gallon bucket, an aquarium air pump and good quality compost.

Squeeze out weeds

It’s common sense that the more flowers you plant the less room there is for weeds to grow. While this is true, there needs to be a little planning with this method. Choose ground-covering plants that will suit the conditions – plant those that prefer shade in dark corners and those that need sun in well-lit spots. Once they flourish and spread, they’ll prevent weeds for getting the sunlight, water and nutrients they need to survive.

Protect with plastic forks

Stop your precious herb garden turning into a giant litter box by the neighbor’s cat by adding plastic forks – prong facing up. The feline explorers won’t appreciate the sharp surprise. This eco-friendly trick worked for Woulda Shoulda’s plants and can also deter squirrels digging and slugs munching.

Line plant pots with coffee filters

Terracotta pots are totally on trend right now but their large drainage hole makes them messy accessories to have in your yard. Keep your patio tidy like Paisley + Sparrow and avoid continuous cleanups by lining your plant pots with coffee filters. They’ll stop soil falling out the bottom while their porous nature will ensure water can still drain away.

Make a DIY watering can

New to gardening and no watering can? No worries! Stock up on plastic milk cartons to use instead. Simply drill or pierce holes in the lid, fill the carton with water and you are all set. Fill a whole bunch of empty bottles and you’ll be able to water the yard in one go!

Use seaweed as fertilizer

Bursting with nutrients and minerals, seaweed has been used to enrich soil for centuries. There are so many benefits to using it in your yard – unlike other fertilizers, it doesn’t need to mature to work its magic and it helps to keep soil moist, plus insects and birds hate its sharp and salty taste. So the next time you head to the beach don’t forget to bring a bucket back for your yard.

Build a crate potting shelf

If you’re not lucky enough to own a potting shed build a mini potting shelf with reclaimed crates. This one is ready-made but it can easily be replicated and personalized with a splash of color or some arty touches. Create compartments for equipment and hang from an external wall for easy access. You could even install a pull-down shelf to use as a work surface.

Deadhead flowers regularly

Deadheading flowers is a simple task but if done regularly can benefit your yard in several ways. Removing brown or mushy heads keeps the plant looking tidy and attractive and it encourages plants to set more flower heads. It also allows plants to conserve energy and stop excessive self-seeding. So, get out there pruning, pinching or shearing ASAP!

Fend off slugs with copper

Slugs and snails hate copper as it gives them a harmless electric shock-like reaction which soon sends them crawling off in a different direction. Whether you protect your beloved shrubs with copper rings dug into the flowerbeds like these from Sarah Raven or stick copper tape around the top of flowerpots, you can rest assured the slimy pests will want to munch plants elsewhere.

Use bottles to protect seedlings

Give old drinks bottles a new lease of life in the yard. Cut the bottles in half and secure them in the soil around young shoots to keep plants and vegetables safe from hungry insects or rodents. The narrow mouth will let plenty of air and sunlight in and the plastic surround will act as a micro greenhouse.

Invest in a water butt

There are so many advantages to owning a water butt – not only will it put a dent in your water bill by reducing your mains water consumption but rainwater has no chemicals in so it’s much kinder to your plants. For a bigger supply to keep the whole yard fed in the thirsty summer months install one in your shed.

Make a herb garden from shoe storage

Fill your outdoor space with a heavenly aroma by installing a hanging herb wall, like Drinking with Chickens has done here. Repurpose an old shoe organizer, attach it to a fence and fill each of the pockets with a different fragrant herb. You can pop potted plants in the holes or even plant seedlings directly into soil-filled pockets. Just make sure you add drainage holes.

Reduce lawn labor

A well-aerated lawn is important for grass vitality as it prevents weeds, moss and waterlogging. We love these cheat lawn spike shoes as they replace the back-breaking maintenance work with an easy stroll around the yard.

Use a peg basket for hose attachments

Like @raw_homemade never lose hose connectors again by keeping them together in one place using a thrifty peg basket. The hook will click onto a wall-mounted hose holder and the holes in the bucket will allow any rainwater to drain away.

Deter animals

As much as we love nature, four-legged pests can do a lot of damage to yards that is extremely frustrating when you’ve worked so hard for results. A pest repeller is a humane way of keeping unwanted visitors out. It emits a high-frequency sound that most humans can’t hear, but animals find disturbing. Some also shoot out a bright flash of light as an extra discouragement. A solar-powered version is economic and won’t have messy wires.

Secure climbers with zip ties

Climbing plants can quickly become unruly. Keep your trailing foliage under control with canes or a trellis and instead of buying costly plant ties fix your greenery in place with common household zip ties.

Make the fence two-tone

If time and money are in short supply, take advantage of the two-tone trend by painting only the lower section of your fence. Not only will it protect the area that needs it the most but it’ll create a stylish backdrop for your flowers. Complete the contemporary look with bright colorful outdoor furniture.

Dust seedlings with cinnamon

Cinnamon is as delicious for plants as it is for humans. The brown spice works as a natural fungicide so dusting it over seedlings and young plants will ward off any harmful diseases. You could also make a cinnamon solution with warm water to spray on the leaves for double protection.

Invite natural visitors

While some garden insects might be considered a nuisance, most are extremely beneficial. Make a bug hotel to attract the right kind of insects to pollinate flowers and keep pests away. These rectangular designs are neat and discreet, painted the same shade as the fence panels behind.

Make a pallet hanger

Pallet DIY project ideas are all over Pinterest and Instagram and are a great way to make outdoor spaces more practical. Whether it’s transformed into a suspended planting rack or a hanging tool organizer, reclaimed wood pallets make inexpensive and creative additions to a yard.

Manipulate growing fruit

Here’s a fun idea that will make you look like a horticultural genius. Why not shape your fruit and veg as they grow with plastic molds? From hearts to stars, there’s plenty of creative shapes to choose from. It’s an ideal way to entice little ones into eating their five a day!

Keep tools clean and sharp

Get crafty and make gardening a whole lot easier with this ingenious DIY hack. Create your own self-cleaning and self-sharpening tool holder by filling a terracotta pot with sand and mineral oil. The abrasiveness of the sand helps to keep tools sharp, while the oil protects them against rust and dirt. It’s a simple but really effective way of keeping your tools in great shape.

Create self-watering bottle planters

Give yourself a break from constant watering by planting an upside-down filled drinks bottle in pots and flowerbeds. Wedge the bottle near the plant at least a few inches deep and water will gently seep out over a long period of time keeping the surrounding soil damp and moist. This handy hack is perfect if you’re away from home for a long stretch too.

Grow up fast

A vertical earth tower is an attractive space saver in small gardens and makes gardening practical for people with bending restrictions. Watered from above, an internal reservoir provides an even supply of water and nutrients to flow downwards. Seeds or starter plants can be sowed directly into the pyramid of shelves and are almost impossible to overwater. This is an affordable and easy-to-maintain planter that gives fast results that even beginners will be proud of.

Keep a compost drum in the yard

The art of composting is striking the right balance between wet and dry materials. Keep a compost drum in your yard to biodegrade food waste, grass cuttings and any paper recycling you might have. Eventually, you’ll end up with a powerful free compost that your soil will love.

Upcycle homewares

Old utensils can make quirky planters. Teacups filled with dainty violas will add vintage charm, while colanders make perfect hanging baskets thanks to their many drainage holes. You can even plant them with vegetables like chilis and cherry tomatoes to make a funky mini allotment.

Keep a compost caddy in the kitchen

Kitchen food waste makes a nutritious natural fertilizer for your garden. Keep a caddy in your kitchen or utility room to store food scraps that you can add to your composter in bulk. Although you can use any organic material, vegetable peelings, tea leaves, cooked rice and pasta are much less odorous than meat and fish.

Use plant markers

Whether you’re planting bulbs or creating a delicious herb garden, it can be hard to differentiate your flowers and plants once they’re in the soil. Stay organized by sticking plant markers into the soil by each plant species. Whether you choose reusable shop-bought ones or make your own with biodegradable popsicle sticks, they’ll be a godsend when it comes to reading up on plant care.

Keep an organized shed

Make chores a whole lot easier by taking some simple measures before you start. For example, spray your shovel with a lubricant before you begin digging – this will help stop soil sticking to the surface. Always be sure to remove sap from your secateurs as it can cause them to stick. Use a penknife to lift away and then rub with steel wool and lubricating oil. Don’t forget a pair of gardening gloves and sturdy covered shoes to prevent injuries too.

Use mulch

Mulch is amazing stuff. It smells good, fertilizes plants, prevents weeds and is a great alternative to bare soil and even grass as you don’t need to water or mow it. Plus, it’s pretty cheap too.

Opt for smart irrigation

If you’re pressed for time or away from home regularly it can be hard to commit to watering your yard. Fortunately, there are gadgets out there that do it for you. The Gardena Smart Irrigation Control can water six separate zones, all handily controlled with an app and a sensor to determine how much water your grass needs.

Be thrifty with eggshells

Once you’ve enjoyed your morning eggs, don’t waste the eggshells – they’re the perfect addition to your yard. Not only a free fertilizer and a great composting option, they also deter garden pests and even cats. Simply rinse them, crush them and spread them around the base of your plants for a multitude of benefits.

Use a robot to mow your lawn

Make like the Jetsons and get a robot to do all the boring stuff in your home. A robotic lawnmower won’t just save you time but also guarantees even mowing results. And they’re a lot quieter than traditional mowers too, so you’ll get brownie points with your neighbors.

Plants by post

You don’t have to spend your weekends in garden centers to have an attractive backyard either. Shopping online not gives you time to research exactly what you want but it often works out significantly cheaper too, plus you can buy everything from seeds to fully-grown plants.

Use coffee grounds wisely

Don’t throw away your coffee grounds once you’re done with your morning brew. Used coffee grounds are a great slug and snail repellent and they make a good slow-release fertilizer too. Best of all, they’re totally free – use your leftovers or see if a local coffee shop will donate theirs.

Opt for low-maintenance plants

If you’re not keen on spending time maintaining different types of plants with varying needs, stick to one or two low-maintenance varieties to make life simple. Evergreen shrubs can be a great option as they don’t need too much attention and can be left to their own devices. Take a look at your yard and do a bit of research, taking into account how sunny or shady it is before deciding which shrubs are right for your space.

Mow your leaves

Raking leaves up each fall can seem like a thankless task – it feels like the minute you’re done, more leaves appear. Save your back and your time by mowing leaves instead. Not only is it easier and quicker, but it will also chop the leaves into small fragments which act as a natural mulch and fertilizer when they decompose.

Grow in raised beds

Whether you’re determined to grow your own vegetables or simply want the challenge of keeping a collection of bright flowers alive, gardening in a raised bed can be really helpful for the beginner gardener. Raised beds look neat and organized and you’ll be able to control everything from the soil to the location. It’s easier to keep out weeds and pests too – plus it’s kinder on your back!

Use newspaper to kill weeds

This brilliant hack uses damp newspaper to smother weeds by starving them of light. It takes a little time to spread the paper around your plants but it means an end to the back-breaking work of pulling these horticultural pests out of the ground and it’s pesticide-free. The best part is that the newspaper will decompose into mulch, which also feeds the soil.

Use white vinegar to kill weeds

Forget expensive weed killers and use white vinegar to kill weeds creeping through cracks in paths and patios. Fill a spray bottle and liberally apply to the offending plant, repeating the next day. The weeds should turn brown and die within a few days. Do be careful though, the vinegar may harm your other plants so apply with caution.

Grow carrots in trash cans

One of the easiest ways to grow your own vegetables is to sow carrot seeds directly into a clean trash can that’s been filled with compost. Make three-inch planting holes around three inches apart and place three carrot seeds in each and cover with soil. Water well throughout the summer and your carrots should be ready within two and a half months.

Use the square foot method

Divide a raised planter into square sections when growing your own vegetables and herbs. It requires less weeding and allows you to focus your efforts in one place. Stagger your planting so that the task doesn’t become overwhelming and you can have fresh food growing all summer with the minimum of effort.

Buy a garden kneeler

Whether you’re an amateur gardener or a pro, any keen gardener will tell you a kneeler is a must-have item. Whether it’s a simple foam cushion or a deluxe padded bench on wheels, with all that stooping and kneeling, your joints will thank you in the long run.

Plant seedlings in eggshells

Recycle your kitchen scraps and use them to grow new seedlings in. Empty eggshells are ideal to use as they can be transferred into flowerbeds when the seedlings are ready, where they’ll naturally decompose. Other organic planters you can try include avocado skins, half a citrus fruit with the flesh removed and even toilet paper holders which will break down over time.

About The Author: Rachel Homer, As a dynamic digital producer and editor, I am dedicated to working fast and efficiently to provide compelling, topical and evergreen, SEO content. I have gained vast experience writing for different audiences, industries and publications, managing social media strategies, implementing commercial obligations and reaching traffic objectives. I have written editorially online for, Loveproperty.com, LoveEXPLORING.com, Idealhome.co.uk, Housetohome.co.uk, theroomedit.com, Babyexpert.com and Familytraveller.com. Commercially for Cosmo.co.uk, Company.co.uk, Zest.co.uk, Allaboutyou.co.uk, Bestdaily.co.uk and Reveal.co.uk. I have produced print features for Style at Home, Prima Baby, Ideal Home, Your Home and Coast magazine. I am amicable, hardworking and professional with lots of creative flair, imagination and originality. Please contact me for availability.

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